A police officer is earning huge praise for a modest gesture that demonstrates what being a hero is all about.
Cpl. Sebastian Goldman, an 18-year veteran of the police force in Hueytown, Ala., stopped by a local supermarket last week to pick up food for jail inmates. In the driving rain, a 19-year-old supermarket employee helped Goldman carry the bags of groceries to his car.
Goldman glanced down and noticed that the teen’s badly worn shoes were held together with duct tape. “I looked at him and said, ‘What’s up with duct tape?’” Goldman told Al.com. “‘Is that something all the kids are doing? A fashion statement?’”
Instead, the teen said that his shoes had broken apart on the job, and he wound them in duct tape so he could keep wearing them until payday, when he had enough money to get new ones.
That explanation hit Goldman, a father of three, hard. “I didn’t know if he had to walk home in the rain or what,” he told AL.com. As they parted ways, Goldman asked the teen his shoe size.
Later, he stopped by a shoe outlet and picked up a new pair, then headed back to the supermarket, where he gave the surprised teen the shoes.
“I said, ‘Man, here you go. I didn’t know [if] payday was Friday or two weeks from now,’” Goldman explained to AL.com. “He said, ‘What do I owe you?’ and I told him to just pay it forward.”
Goldman kept his gesture to himself. But another shopper who saw the shoe exchange took a photo and wrote about the incident on Facebook, where it’s scored lots of community and social media attention.
“Special shout out to Hueytown Police Officer Goldman,” wrote Angela Roach Scory, the shopper who witnessed the good deed. “Everyone at Food Giant this morning [when he brought the shoes to the teen] was in tears,” she wrote. “Way to go Office Goldman!!!!” she added.
The teen, who wanted to remain anonymous, spoke to Fox 5 Atlanta and said he had a message for Goldman: “I just want to thank him, I shook his hand and everything, but I just want to thank him for what he did.”
Goldman doesn’t want to be thought of as a hero — but if anything comes from the publicity, he hopes it’s that people see the good side of law enforcement officials, in the wake of so much bad news about shady cops who don’t care about the public they serve.
“I hope people take from it that the police aren’t really bad,” Goldman said. “We’ve been getting such a bad rap in the news. We’re human beings with families and kids and loved ones.”